Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What to Eat While You Listen to The Tallest Man on Earth

(Click for the rest of my Tallest Man on Earth pictures.)

I might be musically promiscuous, but I'll always go home to American folk music. One of the things I love most about it is how little has to be done to the tried and true formula for a folk singer to be successful without the music feeling tired - a little charm and wit goes a long way with an acoustic guitar and a slightly gravely voice. I bow my head to anyone who can produce intricate arrangements, but the fact remains, sometimes, all you need from music is to feel connected to someone. Folk music does that for me.

The Tallest Man on Earth is a perfect example of this, his nationality notwithstanding. His live act is a simple set up: a man, an acoustic guitar, and a largely ignored chair. However, when I made my way out of his sold out show in Cambridge this past April, I overheard variations the same thing tripping over each other: "That was the best concert I've been to." Indeed, Kristian Matsson put on quite a show. Whether stomping and howling all over the stage or singing sentimental lyrics so softly that his own voice was overpowered by the crowd singing along, he oozed charisma. I dare anyone who listens to his music not to be cast under his Swedish spell.

The Tallest Man on Earth - King of Spain
The Tallest Man on Earth - The Gardener

To pair with the Tallest Man on Earth's fresh familiarity, I'd go with good old American comfort food with a twist: veggie mac n' cheese and BBQ tofu. Recipes under the jump!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

So drunk in the August sun.

I'm currently facing the last week of summer of my last year of undergrad. Normally in a situation like this that calls for celebration of youth, I would panic until my free time was gone completely and then feel relieved that I don't have to worry about how I'm going to accomplish a little leisure. I not knocking this M.O., but I'm going to try things a little differently this year and fill my final days as a drain on society the way God intended: with cold beer and rock n' roll.

Now, I'm the first to admit that I have limited beer horizons. Where I come from, it's Lone Star, PBR, or Shiner 90% of the time, with Shiner being the overwhelming preference of people whose company I enjoy and, conveniently, my taste buds.

In celebration of my comfort beer and relative freedom from responsibility, here's a mix inspired by Shiner, sweat-drenched cutoffs, and actions that would get you into trouble if anyone cared.

1) "Gold Soundz" - Pavement
2) "Bitch, I Love You" - Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears
3) "The Ballad of El Goodo" - Big Star
4) "Big Wave" - Jenny & Johnny
5) "When I'm With You" - Best Coast
6) "I'm in Trouble" - the Replacements
7) "Burning Airlines Give You So Much More" - Brian Eno
8) "Highway 61 Revisited" - Bob Dylan
9) "Car Jamming" - the Clash
10) "Nothing's Going On" - Dinosaur Jr.
11) "Bright Lit Blue Skies" - Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
12) "Born to Run" - Bruce Springsteen

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What to Eat While You Listen to Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin

The Beach Boys were my first favorite band. I listened to their Christmas album year-round and was fairly convinced that Brian Wilson and I would someday be husband and wife until the sobering day my parents gently explained to me that he had, in fact, aged quite a bit since the photographs covering the Beach Boys' album covers had been taken.

Was I disappointed? You bet. Eventually, however, I was able to put aside my personal resentment towards Mr. Wilson for having the gall to grow old with someone who wasn't me and enjoy some of the most finely crafted pop songs the world has ever known yet again. My taste in music has gone through some serious (and, occasionally, very necessary) overhauls throughout the years, but the Beach Boys were never far from my heart.

It makes perfect sense, then, that the first few chords of this album had me instantly craving my favorite sandwich in my hometown of Houston, Texas - the Brasil Club at Cafe Brasil. The sandwich is made up of spinach, carrots, beets, sprouts, tomato, onion, avocado, walnuts, Dijon, and provolone between your choice of foccacia or ciabatta.

The sandwich and the album both feel light while bringing in some of the big guns, musically and nutritionally speaking. They seamlessly string together disparate, familiar elements in a way that feels fresh rather than desperate. The sandwich is just as likely to remind you of tacos you've devoured or your favorite Italian restaurant, while the album may compel you to listen to Billie Holiday or the Beach Boys next, depending on where your nostalgia takes you. Any way, you can't go wrong.

Brian Wilson - 'S Wonderful
Brian Wilson - I've Got a Crush on You